Thursday, January 26, 2012

University of Illinois: Teaching Workshops Pertinent to Community Service Learning

by Ann Abbott

The Center for Teaching Excellence is a wonderful resource for all faculty at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and Valeri Werpetinski makes it a top-notch resource for those doing community service learning and public engagement in general. Please take a look at some of the events they are offering this semester:

Specifically about community service learning
1. A workshop on "Case-based Teaching for (International) Service Learning."
2. A poster session titled "Social Entrepreneurship and Service Learning Showcase." Not only is this a good place to promote your own community service learning course, program or research, it is also a great forum for your students to present. I have a student team present here, and they are excited by the energy that surrounds the event and surprised to see how many other students on campus are doing service learning.

Not specifically about community service learning but supportive of the work we do in a CSL course.
1. Making Content Memorable and Transferrable using Narratives. Our students change their hearts and minds about immigration once they are exposed to the "stories" of the individuals they connect with in the community and the stories behind our government's immigration policies and realities. I use stories frequently, but I think this workshop would help me do so in a more deliberate, theory-based way.
2. Using Students' Prior Knowledge to Help Learning. I find this interesting because what we often have to do in a Spanish community service learning is correct students' prior "knowledge" because there is so much misinformation about immigration. I think this approach, however, could help us know--and even publish--what students do bring to a Spanish community service learning course.
3. Building Community in the Classroom - an Intercultural Approach. I think this is great! Our students absolutely need to do this during their CSL work, By talking about it explicitly and reflecting upon it in the classroom we can help them better achieve it in the community.
4. Creating Effective Student Teams and Team Assignments. I took this workshop with Cheelan a few years ago, and it changed the way that I thought about teams in my courses. I highly recommend it.

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